Foot numbness

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Foot numbness

Postby khendar » Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:26 am

I went for a short 25 minute ride yesterday and about half way through I noticed that my feet were going numb around the ball of the foot, to the point where it was getting painful. I recently got a pair of Specialised SPD shoes for riding my road bike but I had the same issue before I got the shoes (I thought it was bad shoes, hence the purchased of the Specialised ones). It gets slightly better if I unclip and flex my toes a bit inside the shoes, but by the time I'm finished my feet are in agony until I tear the shoes off and had a good stretch.

Any ideas what might be causing this ? Are my shoes too tight (? Is it a conditioning thing (not used to the clipped in position on the pedal) ? Do I need to do some more stretching beforehand ?

It would suck if it was the shoes causing it because I've only ridden in them a few times and I'd hate to have to replace them. The guy at the store said they have inserts which you can buy to improve the fit but I'd like to know if it really is the shoes before committing to buying more gear.
Last edited by khendar on Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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by BNA » Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:33 am

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Re: Food numbness

Postby population100 » Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:33 am

It's likely a combination of conditioning and having your shoes too tight.

During cycling your foot will swell so it's best start loose and tighten if needed. I'm assuming your shoes are either velcro or a ratchet system? If so try loosening them a little when you start to feel the pain / numbness.
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Re: Food numbness

Postby khendar » Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:42 am

population100 wrote:It's likely a combination of conditioning and having your shoes too tight.

During cycling your foot will swell so it's best start loose and tighten if needed. I'm assuming your shoes are either velcro or a ratchet system? If so try loosening them a little when you start to feel the pain / numbness.


The shoes are a combination of laces + velcro. These ones. I've been doing them up firmly because that's how I thought they needed to be so the foot doesn't move around. I don't strap them up so tight that they hurt but I'll give loosening them off a go and see how that works.
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Re: Foot numbness

Postby zephy » Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:55 am

shoe being too tight is an obvious reason but have you thought about the cleat position on the shoe? and how that positions your foot on the pedal.... maybe try moving it back or forward (or left/right) and see if that makes a difference, just a thought.... brought a pair of MTB shoes (shimano from wiggle) a couple weeks ago and think I have finally found the spot that works best for me.... took a while though...

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Re: Foot numbness

Postby population100 » Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:52 pm

khendar wrote:I've been doing them up firmly because that's how I thought they needed to be so the foot doesn't move around. I don't strap them up so tight that they hurt but I'll give loosening them off a go and see how that works.


I've noticed a fair amount of 'conditioning' over time so it may be that in a few weeks you can start tighter. For the time being I would loosen the shoes with the laces and then a certain degree of adjustment can be make riding using the velcro scrap.


zephy wrote:shoe being too tight is an obvious reason but have you thought about the cleat position on the shoe?


This is a good point and may be worth playing with if loosening the shoes doesn't work. In general I've found cleat position to be less of an issue than over tightening.
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Re: Food numbness

Postby lethoso » Tue Feb 14, 2012 6:24 pm

population100 wrote:During cycling your foot will swell so it's best start loose and tighten if needed.


Yeah, I find that if I do my shoes a little too tight I'm fine when I set out, but my toes start going a little numb when I push hard.

You can also try stretch them out a little by stuffing them really tight with something.
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Re: Foot numbness

Postby Comedian » Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:02 pm

Look I describe it as a burning sensation on the balls of my feet. I've been struggling with it since I started riding. I've found having shoes loose helps as does tight socks. However nothing seems to fix it... only delay it's onset.

I used to get it at 80/90k... and then for a while it was more.. like 150+.. but for some reason at the moment it's been getting me at 70. I really wish I could sort it. :cry:
Once you can climb hills on a bike it's all downhill. :mrgreen:

Hopefully I'll know what that's like..... one day. :shock: :lol:

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Re: Foot numbness

Postby Sauce » Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:37 am

I don't understand why but I've found that well fitting socks reduce the problem to practically nothing. I used to experience numbness in the toes after more than 20 minutes in the saddle, now I can ride for hours and only have problems when I'm really thrashing it out of saddle. Returning to the saddle, the numbness fades in less than a minute whereas before there was absolutely nothing I could do to shake it, short of removing my shoes.

Find some socks that aren't loose or tight... They have to be the perfect shape for your foot - good luck with that :P
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Foot numbness

Postby twizzle » Wed Feb 15, 2012 5:11 am

'Hot foot', caused by the nerves between the bones being irritated.

Chase up some tarsal domes to glue onto the insert to put the arch back into the forefoot, find a podiatrist if this all sounds a bit weird. I still get problems occasionally, but my current shoes are too narrow for my feet.

You can buy the tarsal domes online, I'll chase up the au retailer later.
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Re: Foot numbness

Postby bosvit » Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:16 am

I suffer from hot foot too.

Thanks for the post twizzle.

I have found moving the cleats as far back, eg towards the heel, as possible has made a big difference, but I still suffer hot foot eventually.
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Re: Foot numbness

Postby Comedian » Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:33 am

Yep... thanks Twiz... it's about the only thing I haven't tried. Specialized shoes sell inserts with metatarsal domes that can be slotted into many shoes. People giving this a try should check these out as they are relatively cheap. Unfortunately for me they don't fit my shoes so it will be custom jobs for me. :(
Once you can climb hills on a bike it's all downhill. :mrgreen:

Hopefully I'll know what that's like..... one day. :shock: :lol:

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Re: Foot numbness

Postby AndrewBurns » Wed Feb 15, 2012 7:35 am

Do you have flat feet/feet that pronate or overly high arches? I find that most innersoles in cycling shoes are rubbish (especially Sidi's which are literally like two pieces of cardboard) and if you can fit them in you're better off with some aftermarket innersoles with padding and/or arch support.
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Re: Foot numbness

Postby duds2u » Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:28 am

I'm all for the metatarsel pads.

I've got two pair of shoes, my original Shimanos which always gave me numb toes after about 40k (and still do) and a pair of Specialized with the pads in the inner sole. I've had them for about 6 months now and haven't had numb toes in them no matter how far I ride.

The Shimanos have been consigned to wet weather shoes. Oddly enough, if I am riding in an area where there are a lot of rolling hills and I'm out of the saddle fairly often the toes don't go numb. Standing up must relieve the pressure on the offended nerve.
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Re: Foot numbness

Postby khendar » Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:39 am

The Specialised shoes come with their Body Geometry features, which I believe includes the metatarsal buttons. The guy in the shop said to try them out and if I have any problems then I can look at the inserts afterwards.

My right foot is flatter than my left, the guy literally said "Its not the flattest I've ever seen" which suggests the right is quite flat.

I'm actually glad to see that it seems to be a common problem. I'm not that out of conditioning afterall :)
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Re: Foot numbness

Postby twizzle » Wed Feb 15, 2012 10:44 am

I ride, therefore I am.
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